German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged G20 leaders in Hamburg on July 7 to compromise at the start of talks on climate and trade as US President Donald Trump has said he will pull out of the Paris accord, causing   widespread concern in the EU and many countries around the world. “It’s going to be really difficult. It’s them against Trump at the moment,” Justin Urquhart Stewart, director at Seven Investment Management in London, told New Europe on July 7 as the summit kicked off. “It’s sort of the legion of the sane trying to stay together on the basis they can’t trust what he’s saying and doing,” he said, adding that the EU is united on trade and climate. “What’s fascinating is seeing how strong they think they are at the moment against the States and, of course, and with China as well. So it’s the States that actually find themselves the odd one out at the moment – not so much the States as Mr Trump – but that’s going to be the problem,” Urquhart Stewart said.

Jeff Mankoff, fellow and deputy director of the Russia & Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC, told New Europe on July 7 that the German and the other major powers are annoyed with Trump for pulling the US out of the Paris accord.

“The US has become predictably unpredictable. What gets said depends on the context and who within the administration seems to have the pen at any particular moment and it’s just very uncertain and I think US allies and other members of the G20 are increasingly going to factor that unpredictability into their own calculations in dealing with the US,” Mankoff said.

At the start of a working lunch at which the G20 were to discuss global growth and trade, Merkel admitted that there are “millions of people following us with their concerns, their fears and their needs, who hope that we can make a contribution to solving the problems”. “I am absolutely sure that everyone will make an effort to achieve good results,” AP quoted Merkel as saying.

Merkel was shown talking casually with Russian President Vladimir Putin as the leaders entered the hall, then joining French President Emmanuel Macron in a three-way discussion with Trump, who was seated between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Britain’s Theresa May, Reuters reported.

“We all know the big global challenges and we know that time is pressing,” Merkel told the group. “And so solutions can only be found if we are ready for compromise and move toward each other, but without – and I stress this – bending too much, because of course we can also state clearly when there are differences,” she added.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, along with European Council President Donald Tusk, represented the EU at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Ahead of the G20 summit, Tusk and Juncker sent a joint letter to EU Heads of State or Government on their priorities. In the letter, they highlighted that more than ever the EU has become a global point of reference for all those who value the principles of liberal democracy and human rights, free and fair trade or concrete actions in facing global challenges, such as climate change, poverty, terrorism and illegal migration.

“A strong and determined Union is the best way to promote our values and interests, to support a rules-based multilateral system, and ultimately to protect and defend citizens. With this in mind we will participate in the G20 Summit in Hamburg later this week,” they said.

In their letter, Tusk and Juncker set out the EU’s goals: The G20’s key role in making the global economy work for all; Bolstering an open and fair rules-based multilateral trading system; Demonstrating that ambitious climate action is good for economic growth and jobs; Tapping the potential of the digital revolution; 5. Advancing the global fight against tax avoidance and evasion; Stepping up efforts to fight terrorism and terrorist financing; Aiming for a more resilient international monetary and financial system; Sharing responsibility for refugees and migrants; Partnering with Africa for investment, growth and jobs.

Regarding climate change, they expressed the EU’s regret the decision by the US Administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“The Agreement remains a corner stone for global efforts to effectively tackle climate change and implement the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and we consider that it cannot be re-negotiated. We will reassure the international community that the EU remains steadfastly determined to swiftly and fully implement the Paris Agreement and accelerate the low-carbon transition, as well as to support our partners, in particular the vulnerable countries in the fight against climate change,” they said.

“We will work with all partners who share our conviction that the Agreement is necessary to protect our planet, is fit for purpose, and is good for economic growth and future jobs. We will support an ambitious G20 Joint Action Plan on Climate and Energy for Growth. We will also welcome further work on green finance and a dialogue on ways to improve resource efficiency and to tackle marine litter,” Tusk and Juncker said.

Meanwhile, France called for a higher EU climate target. The new French climate action plan states that France will push the EU to increase ambition of its emission reduction targets in light of the results of the UN facilitative dialogue in 2018, according to Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.

The French government acknowledges that this is part of implementing the Paris Agreement.

In Paris countries committed to staying “well” below 2°C, while pursuing efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Countries also recognised that the contributions they had prepared for the Paris negotiations, which included the EU’s pledge to reduce emissions by at least 40%, would lead to global emissions of at least 55 GtCO2-e by 2030. At the same time, the absolute maximum level of emissions for staying below 2°C would be 40 GtCO2-e.

To close this emissions gap, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) called upon all countries to reduce their 2030 emissions by at least another 25%.

In the margins of the summit, Juncker and Tusk were expected to meet among others Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Argentina’s Prime Minister Mauricio Macri, whose country takes over the rotating G20 Presidency from Germany later this year. Juncker was also expected to meet bilaterally with Putin.

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